Love & Cocktails

Skip and I celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary last week in Big Sky, Montana. I was there for work and he joined me mid-week to celebrate our anniversary with a visit to Yellowstone and a delicious dinner at the Rainbow Ranch Lodge. This was my first trip to Montana and to Yellowstone; it was warm, sunny, and breathtaking. We only saw a tiny portion, mostly the geyser basin, of the park but it was enough to make me want to go back! The highlight of that visit was, by far, the Grand Prismatic Pools—you need to see these, and please, for the love of God, follow the rules and stay on the walk way. Seriously.

When we got married, we tried to do lots of little things that made our wedding reflective of who we are and what mattered to us. Skip’s ‘best man’ was his close friend, Katy; my ‘maid of honor’ was my man of honor, my oldest nephew, Wes. Our ring bearer was our beloved border collie, Oliver, who even wore a tie to the ceremony. Our wedding favors were cookie versions of a fungus plush toy from Giant Microbes made by my talented friend, Lori Trammel; the actual toy was from our engagement and served as our ring pillow. There’s a whole story behind that little fuzzy fungus that I’ll tell you one day! Our close friend, Chris, performed the ceremony.

Our cake topper comprised two handmade figurines–Oliver with a top hat and bowtie and Cricket, my little calico, wearing a veil and daisies. Cricket, unlike Oliver, was not known for her people skills and would not  have enjoyed being at the party for real but she, of course, needed to be part of it! And, two good friends, Elizabeth Lowry and Nathan Yee, were our photographers. Friends and family from all over the country joined us to laugh (lots of laughter), cry, and celebrate. Oh, it was wonderful!

We had a cocktail hour before (& after, of course) the ceremony so that our wonderful guests would have a cocktail in hand while we said our vows. The bride’s cocktail was a basil gimlet and the groom’s cocktail was a take on a Manhattan—guess this was sort of our version of a ‘wedding cake’ and a ‘groom’s cake’. These cocktails put a smile on my face when I make them and remind of the day I put on a fancy dress, had a crazy fancy party, and married my best friend.

The Bride’s Cocktail: Basil Gimlet
Tools & Extras:
Boston shaker, coupe glass

2 oz. Gin
1 oz. Basil simple syrup*
1 oz. Lime juice
Basil leaf

Details:

  • Add everything but the basil leaf to a cocktail shaker.
  • Fill with ice & shake for 30 seconds.
  • Strain into a chilled coupe glass & garnish with a basil leaf.

*Basil simple syrup: Mix 1 C granulated sugar with 1 C water; boil to dissolve the sugar. Once the the sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and lightly crush 10-12 basil leaves and add to the syrup. Steep for 10 minutes; strain into a clean jar and store in the refrigerator for 1 month.

The Groom’s Cocktail: Manhattan, Sort of but not really
Tools & Extras:
Cocktail mixing glass, bar spoon, old fashion glass, ice ball or large chunk of ice 

1.5 oz. Rye Whiskey
1.5 oz. Carpano Antica Vermouth
Dash Orange bitters
Orange rind & brandied cherry

Details:

  • Add everything but the orange rind & brandied cherry to a cocktail mixing glass.
  • Fill with ice & stir for 30 seconds.
  • Strain into a chilled old fashion glass with an ice ball & garnish with a orange rind & cherry.

Cocktail Creativity

I think about work and food most of the time when I’m working out. Lately, I’ve been thinking about ice cream recipes, dessert ideas, and ideas for cocktails while listening to a book and running a few miles. No surprise then, when on Thursday, while working up a serious sweat on the treadmill, I had this idea for a cocktail—something with gin, vermouth, and the arancello rosso from Letterpress. So, once I got home, after starting some dinner prep, I tested it out, just as Skip came in the door. I told him my idea and we both realized that he’d had the same idea a week or so ago. His proportions were different than mine and I’d added a squeeze of lemon juice. My version was good but we both thought it could be better and more interesting. And, with that, our Friday night cocktail and pizza turned into cocktail development (complete with blind tasting) while the dough did its thing. Continue reading